SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, participated in a spiritual motorcycle ride along Oahu's North Shore Jan. 27 in an effort to reinforce safety among Wolfhound riders.
Motorcycle riding in itself has a lot of inherent risk. Unit leaders are aware of these risks and take every step possible to ensure their Soldiers have the best training and mentorship available. One effective tool is group riding.
"In the past we've seen that accidents can happen regardless of rank," said Sgt. 1st Class Les Miller, the 1-27 Inf. Regt. Motorcycle Mentor. "Events like this let Wolfhounds gather and talk about safety in a less formal environment, reinforcing the true importance of safety and not just repeating regulation."
The ride began with an inspection of all the participating motorcycles using the 25th Infantry Division motorcycle safety check list.
"We check all parts of the motorcycle," said Miller. "From lights and tires to the Soldier's documents and certifications. It is important to ensure they are ready to ride safely."
Riding as a group also helps teach Soldiers the proper safety practices needed to operate their machines.
"When you ride with other people it is easier to do the right thing," said Chaplain (Cpt.) Charles Lowman, the 1-27 Inf. Regt. Chaplain.
"Riding in groups helps the Soldiers to maintain the standard because their peers and leaders are with them," said Miller.
Motorcycle groups are not uncommon among military posts as their presence helps to ensure safer riding conditions as a whole.
"Groups on post help ensure young Soldiers learn the correct way to ride," said Miller. "Riding is a learned skill, and having a mentor can greatly increase safety while learning."
Spiritual fitness is a growth process, just as riding a motorcycle is, said Lowman. Having a mentor is equally important in both.
Group and unit motorcycle rides are another way the Army is trying to prevent motorcycle related accidents and fatalities.
"The Army is helping to ensure Soldiers are safe when they ride by organizing events like this," said Miller. "The Soldier has some time off during the duty day to go do something they love while their leaders are able to assess their abilities and safety habits."
It is important that leaders take an active role in the safety of their Soldiers, especially those who ride, said Lowman.
Leaders, even those who do not ride themselves, can help to ensure rider safety by performing regular motorcycle inspections and spot checks on personal protective equipment.
Motorcycles can be an excellent way for Soldiers to enjoy their spare time. However, the risk involved in riding must be mitigated by proper training, supervision and personal responsibility. The motorcycle riders of 1-27 Inf. Regt. are up to speed and on the right track.